Putin orders the establishment of a system of trade payments with allies and “hostile” countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered on Monday the creation of a working group on international payments, whose tasks include defining conditions for agreements with “hostile” countries.

Putin said in March that Russia, the world’s largest natural gas producer, would ask countries it considers hostile to pay for gas. in rubles by opening accounts with Gazprom Bank and making payments in euros or dollars to convert in Russian currency.

Poland and Bulgaria refused to comply, prompting Russian energy giant Gazprom to cut their supplies last month. The Kremlin says the same will happen to anyone who refuses the new payment terms, according to Reuters.

Putin’s order states that the working group will establish “a mechanism for international payments, including Russian rubles, with trading partners of foreign countries and regions carrying out hostile acts against Russia.”

He added that he will also study the payment terms in rubles and other national currencies with friendly countries, which he has not named, but which are believed to include China and India.

The group, which will be led by Presidential Advisor Maxim Oreshkin and includes senior officials such as Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, will also be tasked with finding measures to reduce the risks associated with the freezing of roughly half of Russia’s 640 billion foreign reserves. dollars.

Western countries imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Russia is imposing counter-sanctions and has accepted a list of “hostile” countries that includes the United States, Canada, Great Britain and EU member states.

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